Voinovich: Obama a 'socialist'


CINCINNATI A Republican U.S. senator ramped up the criticism of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, calling the fellow senator a socialist.

Two-term Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, was quoted Friday by a newspaper, which said he made the comment to a reporter Thursday while visiting the Meigs County Republican Party in southeast Ohio.

"He is left of Teddy Kennedy," Voinovich said. "With all due respect, the man is a socialist."

A spokesman for Voinvoich, who has also served as Ohio governor and mayor of Cleveland, said Friday the senator stands by the description.

"He believes that Barack Obama is seriously considering a redistribution of wealth and he also has come to believe that Barack Obama has no appreciation of the 10th Amendment," spokesman Chris Paulitz said.

That constitutional amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Paulitz said Voinovich thinks Obama wants to take power away from the states, municipalities and people, and also "thinks people should start to focus on this."

An Obama campaign spokesman responded that Voinovich's comments are part of false allegations being raised now.

"John McCain and his supporters have embraced a smear campaign based on false attacks because they have no plan to turn around our economy and create jobs in Ohio," spokesman Isaac Baker said. "Senator Obama will continue to discuss his plan to help middle class Ohioans support their families and stay in their homes, not desperately attempt to tear down his opponent."

In a rally Friday in West Chester, a northern Cincinnati suburb, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin referred to Obama's recent response to a Toledo-area plumber who challenged Obama about his tax plan. During his response, Obama told him: "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

"Sen. Obama said he wants to spread the wealth, and he wants government to take your money and decide how to best redistribute it ... Joe (the plumber) suggested that sounded a little bit like socialism. Whatever you call it, I call it bad medicine for an ailing economy," Palin said.